It happened each time I looked into a mirror.
I’d smell the sea, and see the outline of a bald head swaying to inaudible music. The vision would last for a few moments, and then, there would I be, dishevelled hair, bags under my eyes, sunken cheeks…
There was the recurring dream, too. I would be walking along the coast road with two of my friends. It would occur to me that had I been Jesus, we’d have been on the road to Emmaus. But Cleopas and his friend still would not have said the magic words “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So they went on their way, and I looked at the long, yellow, brick road ahead of me. Would I be beset by thieves? Would I ever get to smell the green, green grass of home? Would I get to see a yellow ribbon tied to the old oak tree? I felt dejected, forlorn. I stooped and leaned against the low sea-wall, holding back the tears. I smelled brine. Surely this was not the Sea of Galilee.
Was I going crazy? Would I ever learn how to re-route my dreams, make them lucid, and get out of this scenario? I suddenly recognised the fjord of my childhood. The flat roofs of Samaria by this juncture would have been replaced by high-rise buildings but as soon as I shielded my eyes and looked up, trying to make out the floor where I worked when I had been a corporate banker before I went to prison for fraud, they disappeared.
In their place would be a row of old-fashioned Norwegian houses, all painted in different colours, and with grass and flowering weeds growing on the roofs. I’d see a road sign saying “Christiana (now called Oslo)”. Each time, it would be in a different font.
The sky suddenly turned into blood, and I recalled the proverb about how it was deemed to be a shepherd’s delight. Surely not this sky, though. The clouds burgeoned and pulsed with psychedelic lights. I would want to wake up, but I would not be able to.
I’d know that the clouds would soon begin rippling, and dripping blood. I’d look back and see the two men in the distance; they would seem to be looking back and waving at me, so I would half-raise my arm to salute them, and then, immediately feeling a physical ache in my heart, I’d massage my chest, feeling as if I had a gaping wound I had to close. I would wake up each time, dripping with sweat, even though it was the dead of winter. I could wring out the sheets, they’d be so wet.
I went to hypnotherapy sessions, acupuncture sessions, healing Masses… nothing worked. I tried Bach flower remedies and tuned vegan, and took serotonin, but still the dreams persisted.
The only thing that seemed to have an effect was learning how to chant, and using singing bowls. The energy and vibration of their specific frequencies worked on my subconscious, but only jjuyst. I read up on what Nikola Tesla and Albert Einstein had said about this, and boy was I impressed.
The dreams persisted, but at least the scary details were gone. The two men I met I the dream had a different aura; if I poked my finger onto it, they disappeared. The sky-scrapers did not feature in my new set of dreams. When I woke up, I would no longer need to change the sheets. However, I’d started getting muscle tension, a migraine, and an upset stomach. My left thumb would hurt, for no reason.
I began listening to Gregorian chant on a loop. I was not yet ready to try transcendental meditation, because I was too busy trying to rebuild my career under a new identity, and I needed more hours in the day, not less.
And then, I found it – the house where I wanted to live until the end of my days. It even had a side door that gave it a room I could turn into an office, without having to travel to work or spend money on rent.
Life was good.
I was clearing out the basement, when I came upon a full-length mirror shrouded in a sheet. I removed it, and suddenly, I smelled the sea, and saw the outline of a man’s bald head, his hands cradling his face as he sang Gregorian chant.
Cue primal scream.